Melbourne: Vice-captain Virat Kohli said Saturday that beating South Africa in the World Cup Sunday will give India "immense self-belief" and "momentum" that is needed to top in cricket's showpiece event.
“If we beat them, it will give us immense self-belief that we can beat big sides come the knockouts. South Africa has been one of the top sides in the world and they have a good balance in batting and bowling and their fielding has raised standards in international cricket," Kohli was quoted as saying by bcci.tv.
"To get over that hurdle will be immense self-belief booster in many ways. We realise it is important to hold momentum in a tournament like the World Cup. We have started off on a good note and it is something that we are looking to build over the next few games.”
The defending champions will face the Proteas at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here in what will be the second game of the World Cup for both the teams. While India defeated traditional rivals Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval last Sunday, South Africa staved off a challenge from neighbours Zimbabwe on the same day at Hamilton.
“For us, every game is apparently a test. Even against weaker sides, we always talk about what if they upset us. I always maintain that you play a game of cricket with bat in hand and ball in hand, and that's all there is to it. We want to play well as a unit and that's what we're looking to do in this World Cup," said the 26-year-old.
Scoring runs also depends a lot on the dimensions of the ground and the size of MCG, which will also host the final March 29, can be quite intimidating.
“In Melbourne we have seen that sustained momentum throughout the innings has probably been the successful way. Teams that have tried to slog it out in the last 10 (overs) usually don't end up pulling off that many runs, especially teams that are not familiar to these conditions," said the Delhi youngster, who scored a match-winning century against Pakistan.
"There is more bounce, the boundaries are bigger and so it's not that easy to clear boundaries on a regular basis. You have to hit angles, play in the gaps, run hard and place the ball more than power it. There will be a calculated approach towards our batting and we will have to make some changes according to how big the field is.”